Jim Fassel's re-programming of Kerry Collins included a trip to the movies. The theater was Fassel's office, the screen was his television set and the tape was a golden oldie he produced 17 years ago with John Elway.
It was the spring of 1982 at Stanford's practice facility. Fassel was an assistant coach and Elway, not quite 22 years old, was getting ready for his senior season. Fassel asked Elway to help him make an instructional tape on quarterback fundamentals.
"It's an old tape and John is funny looking," Fassel said. "He looks like he's got that Dutch boy haircut. He's wearing short shorts and high socks. It's a dated film. But it shows you the proper technique." Over the years, Fassel has made good use of the tape in working with quarterbacks and bringing it to clinics. He's let college coaches borrow it. The tape is almost an hour, but with Collins the focus was on a 10-minute segment, complete with close-ups and slow-motion of Elway dropping back, demonstrating foot placement and the proper way to carry the ball when setting up.
Fassel has been trying to break Collins of setting up with the ball near his shoulder, which affects his accuracy. They came right off the practice field after working on those techniques and Fassel popped in the Elway tape.
"Anytime you try to change a guy, it takes a little while," Fassel said. "The guy has talent. It's just a matter of changing some things that I think will make him more efficient."
Using Elway, a future Hall of Famer, as an example will get any QB's attention. "John has the respect of all the quarterbacks playing in the league," Fassel said. "I think that certainly helps. And the teaching is easier when you can see somebody do it." Now let's see if he can get results.